The Day Visit Program includes boat transportation, a guided tour and lunch. The trip begins early in the morning, departing from Gamboa at 7:15 a.m. on weekdays and at 8:00 a.m. on weekends, and arriving 45 min (Jacana) to ½ later (Morpho). The guide will provide visitors with information concerning the natural history of the island, and prepare the group for the trail walk. The walk takes between 2 ½ to 3 hours, and includes explanations about the different interactions that take place in the forest and existing projects being done on BCI. The tour also includes a visit to the Visitor's Center, where you can take the time to discussed the most important points along the trail.
Please take a look at A visit to Barro Colorado Nature Monument (BCNM) to learn more about your visit.
After the Visitor's Center, you will head to the dining hall to for a cafeteria style lunch featuring a variety of dishes, along with a vegetarian section. Following lunch, there will be time to ask questions and relax. The boat to Gamboa departs at 3:40 p.m. during weekdays (arrives at 4:10 p.m. ) and at 2:30 p.m. arrives at 3:15 p.m. (Gamboa) on weekends.
A trip through the Canal
The boat ride across Gatún Lake takes between 45 minutes to an hour and presents a wonderful opportunity to see a panoramic view of the Canal waterway and its spectacular forested shoreline.
A walk in the forest
Walking in the tropical rainforest
Once you arrive at Barro Colorado you will have time to prepare for a walk along one of our interpretative nature trails, whether on the Island itself or on one of the peninsulas. The trails are about 2Km long and may be quite steep, but you will stop frequently, having time to rest and enjoy the sights, and to learn more about the natural history of the place.
In addition to being of great importance to the international scientific community, Barro Colorado and adjacent Soberanía National Park provide legal protection to one fourth of the remaining forest in the Panama Canal Watershed. Soberanía National Park and Barro Colorado also provide refuge to nearly 50% of all of the birds and mammal species reported in Panama.
Barro Colorado Island alone is home to 115 mammal species, including 74 species of bats, 5 species of monkeys, agoutis, tapirs, coatimundis, sloths and peccaries. Its botanical wealth is similarly impressive: more than 1,200 plant species can be found on the Island.
The new Visitor's Center (8/2012) is where the Field Research Station was located, a historic building dating from 1924, it was the first laboratory on Barro Colorado and also served as a dormitory and dining hall. A new display is being prepared. Soon you will also learn more about the natural history of Barro Colorado through a hands-on exhibit. In the Espavé store (located in the dining hall) you can purchase books and other mementos of your visit.
Aerial view of the Visitor's Center
A cafeteria style lunch with vegetarian options is served at 1:00 pm. in the cafeteria.
What to bring?
- T-shirt or light, long sleeved shirt *
- Long pants *
- Cédula or passport and student ID
- Walking shoes
- Bottle of water and rain jacket (recommended between April and December)
- Insect repellent
- Optional: pencil, notebook, binoculars, camera, change of clothes, repellent and masking tape (to tape socks over pants).
- You can bring something along to eat in the boat, but remember to have a good breakfast before the trip.
You can also buy breakfast on BCI. Please ask you guide when in the dock.
- Medications in case of allergies or any other health problem.
(*) Dress in forest colors to blend in.
Please advice us of any special interest.